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School Board has 3 vacancies for May election

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Filing period for prospective West Linn-Wilsonville School Board members open through March 16

Three of five West Linn-Wilsonville School Board members will see their current terms expire June 30, and the filing period for prospective board members lasts through March 16 — the last day district candidates can declare their candidacy.

Current board members Keith Steele, Rob Fernandez and Regan Molatore are the three expiring terms, while Chelsea Martin and Betty Reynolds have terms that last through 2019. Molatore has already filed to run again in position one, while Steele (position five) and Fernandez (position three) both told the Spokesman they will not run after serving two terms and eight total years on the WL-WV board.

"I'm wrapping up my eighth and final year serving on the board and overall it's been a great experience," Steele said. "I've learned a lot about our public education system and have built some great professional relationships with many of my fellow board members (past and present), as well as the dedicated staff and leadership team throughout the district," Steele wrote in an email.

WL-WV SCHOOL BOARD FILING

WHO CAN RUN?: Prospective board members must live within the West Linn-Wilsonville boundary lines for at least one year preceding the May 2017 election and be registered to vote.

HOW TO FILE: To run for the WL-WV School Board go to clackamas.us/elections/forms.html.

The Board is responsible for establishing education goals that guide the school district, and board members are expected to incorporate the community's view, as they're publically elected officials. Steele said prospective members should expect to dedicate 15-20 hours a week to school-related activities and materials, especially during the beginning of their term.

"My free advice to every new board member in their first year is just to dedicate yourselves to learning about the work and building trusting relationships with your fellow board members and the leadership team," he said. "There is a fairly steep learning curve over the first year or two for new board members who don't have a background in Oregon's K-12 educational system or prior board service."

"I think people would be surprised at the amount of time this position takes. It is more than just two nightly meetings a month," Molatore added. " To understand the work of the district, you need to go and see what is happening in each school, at each opportunity."

Steele said one of the underrated aspects of serving as a board member is figuring outtheir responsibilities in the early months. He added that expectations become increasingly clear over time, however.

"It's ... not uncommon for new board members to become confused and start behaving like supervisors or pseudo-employees of the district, which can lead to numerous difficulties," Steele said. "The board's primary role is to provide governance and leadership, not to manage or perform tasks that are the responsibility of staff. Sometimes the line can be a little fuzzy, but you will have seasoned members of the board to consult with — be sure you lean on them whenever possible."

The deadline to file is March 16, and the election itself is May 16.